Jim Coshland, San Clemente
For my San Clemente friends: take a little drive. Check out the Avenida La Pata and Ortega Highway area. There are thousands of new homes. Drive up San Antonio Parkway to Rancho Santa Margarita. Another group of thousands of homes. Ladera Ranch, more thousands. Go up to Orange and down to Foothill Ranch and the Trabuco Canyon area. Does anyone think that the huge number of cars going south on the I-5 through San Clemente are all from the Los Angeles area?
When the Orange County folks mentioned above decide to go south, how do they get there? Answer: I-5, of course. To minimize jam time, shortcuts down La Pata and through San Clemente are suggested by apps such as Waze. Avenidas Pico and Presidio become impacted as well as many smaller streets.
It will only get worse as time goes by and those thousands of new homes become occupied. San Clemente has been thrown under the bus by being on the outside when the TCA signed a protective agreement with an environmental coalition, making it only consider routes through San Clemente and not around it. Monumental traffic will go through San Clemente in the future without a way to divert it.
The existing proposed routes through San Clemente are the result of that agreement. That agreement has to be voided through the courts as it settled a longstanding lawsuit.
When that is done, the correct routing around the city can be made.
There is a simple route in which the toll road (or better, a free road) could continue south from Oso, crossing Ortega Highway around the eastern limits of San Clemente, continuing south and connecting to I-5, south of San Clemente city limits. Of course, there will be backups on the two highways—there always will be—but there is no reason for city streets to be congested, as there’s no advantage to anyone.
A highway bypassing San Clemente is the only logical choice. I’m an old guy, been here for more than 40 years. It will not impact me. I urge everyone to observe, gather facts and think for yourselves and to not be led around by shortsighted special interests.